Saturday, 28 March 2015

Darkness Under The Trees

…Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs (Matthew 26: 47)

The Last Supper had taken place, and the long wait under the olive trees was over. That evening was dominated not by the arresters, but by the one arrested. See Jesus as he deals with each emergency in turn:

1. The treacherous kiss (v. 48). Over the next few hours Christ’s face would become violated by blows – but the betraying kiss from someone he had travelled, eaten and ministered with would surely hurt Him most. Jesus addresses Judas as ‘Friend.’ In classical Greek the term was used by workmen to each other. Today it might be translated as ‘Mate.’ Jesus was in control.

2. The impotent sword (v. 51-54). How ridiculous those weapons, swords and lanterns looked. “Am I leading a rebellion?” Jesus asked. He makes them feel it; their stealing out at night to capture him…. all this weaponry. Peter’s sword is still dripping blood. “Put it back!” For ever Jesus would outlaw for ever the way of the Crusades, the holy war or the Jihad. To go that way is to admit that you have already lost the argument.

3. The desolate moment (v. 56). ‘Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.’ You and I are in no position to condemn them. With all our advantages of hindsight and history, of the whole Bible and of the church around us, can we say that WE stand up, boldly, visibly, verbally, when it comes to taking sides for Jesus Christ in His dying love for the world?

Stay in your mind under the olive trees right now, and find new courage.